I could hardly find anyone who wasn't in a relationship and who wasn't engaged in some serious PDA all over the place, complete with holding hands, wearing matching clothes, constantly uploading a super-couple-y profile picture on Facebook and so on.It felt almost as though each person played their role in the perfect relationship, but could easily repeat it the following week with somebody else.American men will rush to get you in bed as quick as possible, while European men don’t appear to have the same rush (or desperation). European men don’t ‘date’ – in the formal way that Americans are used to.The types of dates seen in movies – the formal ask, the fancy dinner and the entire dance that ensues simply doesn’t exist in the European mindset, in fact, the word “dating” isn’t even a part of their lexicon. Unlike American culture, where there’s almost a rite of passage which takes two people from “hooking up” to “seeing each other” to “dating” to “exclusive”, these labels just aren’t a focus or concern for European men. Rather, the mentality is, “I like you, I want to see you, and if it’s enjoyable, let’s keep seeing each other”.It is so funny to see how some social behaviors are exactly the same between France and the US, and others are completely different. Well, this was a big shock to me when I arrived in the US. I understood of course a man and a woman could be interested in each other in a romantic way, let me reassure you.One of the very obvious difference is the dating game. But I was not aware that accepting to go out to dinner with a man alone gave the signal that I was possibly romantically interested in him.Even for a married woman to go out with a male friend who is single: I often travel to Paris by myself, Leyla and Olivier stay in Paimpol, and have dinner with one (or several) of our good male friend(s), single or not.Olivier trusts me, and we both trust our friend(s), who would never make a pass at me.
Love is found, and dismissed, very casually and almost according to the preferences of the particular day.Sure, they will go out for dinner and do fun activities, but it’s not packaged up in a formal and contrived manner. It’s more organic and instead of defining the relationship in order to know how to act, they let the relationship unfold and the label of boyfriend/girlfriend just naturally develops in the process. European men are comfortable with women, which leads to respect for women.Perhaps this has to do with their upbringing, where it’s very normal for boys and girls to play and intermingle together.I’m not to judge that one is better than the other, and mind you, my observations are based on my own experiences as well as a group of women I’ve interviewed in the last two years.The below is a list of some of the themes and commonalities observed.Of course there was no internet, but people could publish their insertions, or lonely-heart advertisements, in newspapers.